The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Convention happened in June in Grapevine, Texas, the home city for DFW Airport and a “ring city” to Fort Worth and Dallas. Fort Worth is the “FW” in the “DFW Metroplex.” The census people are currently without a good definition for exactly what the DFW Metroplex encompasses. The official area number is 7 million souls. Operating on the “what touches mine” theory, the number is close to 8 million, which is a manure load of people. We live in an unincorporated area of Tarrant County, with a Fort Worth address. It was an hour drive to the convention. We stayed at the hotel. Short story, we live here and had to travel.
We moved to a new place a while back. I was waiting on the old place to close before I built my new shop. I crammed as much as I could into the existing three-stall barn. Since I own every tool known to man, it looked like 30 pounds of manure in a 10-pound sack. Then the rains came. And came. I have been running around like a head with my chicken cut off trying to get organized enough to function. So, when the nice, hysterical lady called with a horse down, hung up in the wire fence and bleeding, it was a welcome break. It was also an opportunity I badly needed. I’ll get to that later.
Buttermilk sent a link on Facebook one Tuesday night. She said she would like to go see some guy named Chris Botti. She likes those fancy singing guys. I’m not fancy and can’t sing, so we go see people who can. I went online, got two tickets for Saturday. Since Buttermilk is always right, I didn’t even check out this Botti. By the grace of God, third row, center. Well, he isn’t a singer. He plays trumpet. He’s one of the greatest in the world. It brings to mind people like Gerald Alexander. If you are in the business, everyone who seeks out the best knows him... respects him... is in awe of him. Mr. Botti attracts talent like money does politicians. His band is made up of people who are world class in their own right. One hundred fifty minutes of awesomeness.
At long last, welfare issues have come front and center in the minds of equine organizations.
My part of the Lucas Oil National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes, as far as showing goes, is over. It did not go well. My fault. I cut a bad cow once and cut bad next. Both preventable. The bad cow might not have been bad if I had cut her second or drove her out farther or, or, or... you know. We picked her together and had consensus. I ate steak that night to get even. The second cow got a step on me. Yellow baldy. My choice was chase her into the corner or switch off, counting on all five judges’ eyesight to fail. It did not. I got hit with a switch. Never got a chance to show my horse because of decisions I made or agreed to before I ever left the cow boxes.
What is the most expensive kind of maintenance? Deferred. The cheapest? Preventative. The easiest to put off? Regular. The most ignored? Ourselves. I am tired of being serious. Pay attention.
I write this column a month in advance of its published date so, I can only guess at the outcome of the upcoming American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Convention. By now, all of you will have heard the news as to who has been elected to serve AQHA’s membership on the executive committee, board of directors, changes in the rules and other pertinent information that has been decided on during this annual meeting.
As a community, we are all in this together. In truth, the whole world is in this together. It’s hard to understand how one fool on the other side of the world can pull off one stunt and we all go barefoot in the airport. Or it can be one hero and the change is for the better. The world of cutting is no different.
Buttermilk is always good for a column subject. She thought I should tell you about the work involved at shows – in particular, aged events, and even more specifically, the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity. Given that she is smarter and more observant than me, and the keeper of the TV clicker, I agreed. I could make this the shortest column ever. Easily. It is a lot. But that is too easy, so...here it is.
The National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Non-Pro starts as I write. Horse shows have a “feel;” this one is very good, like it should be and what we want. I’m driving in from Whiskey Flats, listening to Norwegian Symphony tunes, to meet a Swiss snowboard racing lady, a man from Venezuela and a Ukrainian truck driver. I have run video feed for a Canadian. I have made a loper from Israel laugh. I helped “Fish,” the Eritrean parking attendant, help a girl from Wisconsin find her car and a cutter from Peaster, himself. Facebook has given me cutter friends from all over the world. These global connections are fascinating. This is old in the world of horses and cows.